State v. Rhodes

63 Ohio St. 3d 613 (1992)

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State v. Rhodes

Ohio Supreme Court
63 Ohio St. 3d 613 (1992)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

Cornell Rhodes (defendant) was charged with murder for stabbing Annette Akins to death. Rhodes testified Akins threw a glass figurine at him and started to stab at him with a knife and that he stabbed Akins while struggling over the knife. There was testimony that Akins became violent when drunk, and her blood alcohol level after the stabbing was 0.08 percent. The jury was instructed that (1) being under the influence of sudden passion or in a sudden fit of rage, brought on by serious provocation occasioned by the victim that was reasonably sufficient to incite a defendant to use deadly force, is a mitigating circumstance that reduces murder to voluntary manslaughter; and (2) Rhodes had the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the mitigating circumstance that reduced murder to voluntary manslaughter. Rhodes was convicted of murder. The court of appeals reversed, holding the court improperly instructed the jury that Rhodes bore the burden to prove the mitigating circumstance by a preponderance of the evidence. The state (plaintiff) appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wright, J.)

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